Flexible Working FAQs

Over the last couple of years, we have seen seismic changes in the world of work. Since the beginning of the global pandemic in 2020, employees have been forced to adapt to new ways of working. Work-from-home orders became normality throughout the country, and workers got used to the new hyper-flexible approach to work.

Since the “Living With COVID” plan has been introduced, employers are aware that their employees will not simply return to the way things were before the pandemic. Workforces have become used to the flexibility and freedom of spending more time with their families, avoiding rush hour commutes, etc. Flexible working looks to be the future of a successful business strategy, but what does this mean exactly? We take a look at the most frequently asked questions when it comes to flexible working.

What Is Flexible Working?

Flexible working has seen a massive increase in popularity over the last decade, by over 91% since 2005 — but what is it exactly? Flexible working is different from the traditional nine to five work schedule. It includes working from home, the office or a range of locations and allows workers to start and finish working when they want. Whether it’s working part-time, weekends, late starts, working from home or logging on at cafés, flexible working empowers employees to find a way of working that suits them.

By putting employees first and giving them the flexibility to choose their working hours and locations, businesses can also benefit by optimising or downsizing their office or workplace to become more efficient.

Are There Different Types of Flexible Working?

Yes, there are a number of types of flexible working. Flexible working is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of ways of working. The future of work looks flexible, so let’s take a look at some of the main types.

Hybrid Working

Hybrid working essentially breaks the team into three groups — those who work from the office, those who work remotely and those who are allowed to choose between the two. This way of working gives employees plenty of freedom while also maintaining some level of workplace culture. Often described as the best of both worlds, hybrid working is normally based on personal preference and the employee’s job role.

Remote Working

Remote working gives employees complete freedom and flexibility to work when and where they want. Office-based meetings, team-building events, etc., are not required for remote workers, meaning remote companies and workers are completely global.

What Are the Benefits of Flexible Working?

Although the different forms of flexible working suit the needs of employees by offering more freedom and flexibility, it also makes good business sense for organisations who are thinking about adopting it. The benefits include:

  • Attracting top talent — Employees value freedom and flexibility. Therefore, offering flexible ways of working should enable you to attract a wider pool of talent from a greater geographical area.
  • Offering more progression — Offering flexible work in senior positions enables part-time workers to progress equally.
  • Improving employee retention — Flexibility has become a key driver for many employees. Although flexible working is becoming increasingly popular, many organisations and companies are unwilling to adopt it. By offering employees their desired flexibility, you stand a much better chance of retaining top talent.
  • Improved wellbeing — A well-thought-out, flexible working strategy can enable employees to enjoy a better work-life balance and share their time between work and other commitments.
  • Tackling gender norms — Offering more flexible roles opens up opportunities for more people with caring responsibilities. It also has the potential to challenge the stereotype that caring responsibilities are women’s work because positions currently held by men also offer flexibility.
  • Increased productivity — By enabling employees to work when they want, they can work during the hours they are most productive. This helps boost overall productivity.

Can Employees Request Flexible Working?

Yes, all employees are within their rights to request flexible working. Employees looking to make the request must have worked for the employer for at least 26 weeks and must make an official statutory application.

The world of work continues to evolve and adapt to the changing circumstances. Flexible working looks here to stay, which means organisations and companies all over the world will be forced to adapt or fall behind. The adoption of flexible working will take time, money and technology like workplace management software to facilitate the change, but the change may hold many potential benefits for employers and employees alike.